Short Stories for Short People #2: Occupied

I always knew I would die in this dump.

I only took the job to sail into my retirement and here we are, fifteen years later, with me slumped in a pile in the stall in the third floor bathroom.

Aneurysm. Gotta say, I thought the smoking would have done it. Or the cholesterol. But instead I was taking a piss and then… Well. That was it. Felt sleepy and lights out. Not a bad way to go. Even if I was in the can.

I was in there for awhile, face smacked into the side of the stall. You people gotta drink more water. Seriously, no one came in for like 40 minutes.

Then I hear the door and think, great! Someone is gonna find my body. And they’re gonna wail, “OH, SOMEONE HELP. Gladys has fallen! Not Gladys! She was in good shape for the shape she was in!”

That is not what happened.

The door opens and I hear this click click click of heels on the tile. I’m laying there, lifeless, and she goes to the next stall. THE NEXT STALL. OF COURSE. Figures, right?

There’s this pause… and I hear her heels again.

Look, sister, whatever was behind door number one ain’t got nothing on door number two.

So the door opens. And no, I did not forget to close it. Those stalls haven’t latched right since I got here. Half the time you’re in there and one of the new girls will yelp because her giant purse is hanging on the hook on the stall door and all of a sudden it swings the door open and she’s all flustered and it’s like Christ, honey, we’ve seen knees before.

Sorry. Anyway.

So the door opens. It’s Rachel from purchasing. At first she starts to apologize for busting in, but then she realizes something is wrong. Her face changes and I think finally I’m getting out of here.

She doesn’t scream. She doesn’t shout. She just looks at me. She’s so young. Hell, maybe she’s never seen a dead person before. I dunno. But she’s looking at me.

She whispers, “Hey. Hey, are you okay?” I guess she thought I was sleeping. “Ma’am?”

MA’AM? I have worked with you for over a YEAR, missy. LEARN NAMES. IT’S A LIFE SKILL.

She finally shoves my shoulder. I slide down a little off the seat. I don’t know that I can describe the amount of flailing that happened next. She made a little shriek, and her reflex was to catch me. But her emotion was pure repulsion. She sort of held me up and muttered to herself while she looked away.

Then. Then she took a moment. She had a decision to make. You see, Rachel had come into this room with a purpose. She looked towards door number one, then back down at me. Back and forth.

I guess whatever happened next door must have been awful.

So dear Rachel is faced with a dilemma. She needs to pee. I am in her way. I am not, as they say, a delicate flower.

So what does she do? She sort of pulls me to the side, off the toilet. I MEAN REALLY. My pants are around my ankles! And she just pushed me aside!

I end up on the floor, still flopped over, and she steps around me, drops trou, and pees. Her leg is touching my arm. HER LEG IS TOUCHING MY ARM AS SHE PEES NEXT TO ME.

Does anyone remember Rodney Dangerfield?

AND THEN. THEN. FINALLY. SOMEONE ELSE COMES IN THE BATHROOM.

Rachel is completely still and silent. A look of total panic washes over her as she pushes both hands out onto the stall door.

The lady pushes at the door and before Rachel can say anything to her, the woman says, “Oops, sorry!” COME ON. Don’t you notice the pair of feet and the pile of DEAD LADY in the stall?

Lady moves to the other stall and makes an audible “ew!” before rinsing her hands and running out.

Rachel sighs in relief. I’m still dead.

She finishes up and calmly flushes the toilet. There is a moment of more flailing and some hissed cursing over the bowl while it flushes. I guess she realized leaving the pee would make it more convincing that she found me? Oh well. She leaves the stall.

She didn’t move me. She didn’t even look at me. It’s not like she had to explain anything. They’ll ask if that’s how she found me, she’ll say yes, and that’s that. It’s not like anyone’s going to ask her if she peed a foot from my head. 

Unbelievable.

Washes her hands. Click click click on the tile.

“Someone, help! Gladys has fallen!”

“What? Oh no, not Gladys!”

Well, at least there’s that.

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